Because economics both poses as a hard science and fails to generate reliable predictions, establishing economic facts is an elusive exercise. Battling statistical analyses come to opposite conclusions on the impact of fiscal stimulus, changes in tax rates, wage mandates, regulations, and so on. Into this void steps money and power, such that today we find ourselves with think tanks staffed by economists who provide their clients with the answers they seek. And since those with the deepest pockets can buy the results that best serve their goals, it is increasingly difficult to generate the wealth of evidence needed to offset market failures, inequities, and even existential threats.
As was said of Philadelphia's founding Quakers, many may have come to Washington to do good but did well. Very well indeed. Yet with many of them, Leibovich claims, it comes "with a desperation that, to me, is the most compelling part of the Washington story, whether now or before: it is a spinning stew of human need."